Regular DCO commentator (bless you for that) and Phillies fan Pop Cultured writes, "Our series starts Tuesday, brother...what do you think?" We've only done a series preview once before, and while that prediction may have been, on a purely cold, results-tilted scale, slightly incorrect (though on a 'Tism-weighted scale it was dead-on, with only dastardly circumstances preventing what might [should] have been), we nevertheless put our prognosticating skills to the test again and look at the important aspects of the crucial upcoming Nationals-Phillies series.
Mildly interesting fact: both teams are 6-4 since the All-Star break. This record marks a tremendously successful stretch for the Nats, putting to bed the unpleasant memories of late June (selectively looking back a little further, they have won 8 of 12), and igniting hopes that we are about to re-live the glory days of mid-May through mid-June. The Phillies' recent streak has pushed them up above .500. Still, a 6-4 stretch is much more of a big deal to Washington than it is to Philadelphia. Advantage: Nats
The Phillies boast some gaudy offensive statistics, with players with more than 20 HRs, 80 runs, and 80 RBI. The Nationals have a feel-good story sitting in second place in NL hitting. Dmitri has only temporarily vacated the top spot in favor of Chipper Jones, whose recent fluky hot streak is no match for Dmitri's two-months-and-counting hitting extravaganza. Dmitri is scheduled to come off a minor injury to continue the extravaganza in a starting role on, coincidentally enough, Tuesday, in Philadelphia. Advantage: Nats.
The Phillies franchise recently lost its 10,000th game, to the apparent delight of wacky disc jockeys. The Nationals are unlikely to lose even 1/100 that many games this year, to the disappointment of every baseball expert in the entire universe, but to the surprise of no one in the Washington clubhouse. Advantage: Nats.
Matt Chico takes the mound on Wednesday in the second game of the series. According to his biggest fan, Chico=American Icon/Hero, presumably a bigger icon than, say, the Liberty Bell, and a bigger hero than, say, Ben Franklin, both of Philadelphia. Advantage: Nats.
The Nationals have signed second-biggest-feel-good-story-in-baseball (at least baseball in Washington) Ronnie Belliard to a contract extension. The Phillies have not. The move suggests that other re-signings of other key players may be forthcoming as The Plan perhaps transitions from "jettison-all-currently-good-players-in-favor-of-long-term-prospects" to "keep-the-good-players-you-have". Advantage: Nats.
With these undeniable and unassailable facts such as they are, there is only one possible result to this series. We report. You decide (please don't sue us, Rupert).